Cherry Hill Lane project nears completion

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 10:00am

“All closings have occurred and five happy families now own their own home on Block Island,” wrote Housing Board Chair Cindy Pappas to The Block Island Times.

“I have had walk-throughs with all five houses with Building Official Marc Tillson,” said Pappas during the telecommunication meeting on Tuesday, July 14 to discuss updates on the Cherry Hill Lane affordable housing project. Pappas later wrote to The Times saying “the Certificates of Occupancy were issued by Marc Tillson. He is the one who makes sure the houses are good to go.”

Cherry Hill Lane has five affordable homes located off Cooneymus Road. A lottery was held last October when 12 applicants gathered to learn who would be chosen. Shannon and Louis Marsella, Bernice Johnson, Vivian Donis and Jorge Morales, Jessica Wood, and Joe DeMatteo were selected.

The project, which was created in response to the lack of affordable housing in a town where some of the lower-priced homes hover around the $1 million mark, has been years in the making.

In a Block Island Housing Board Annual Report for July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019: “The Block Island Housing Board has spent much of Fiscal Year 2019 working on the development of the Cherry Hill Lane affordable housing project, a five home subdivision off of Cooneymus Road… a very generous donation by Josie Merck and the Ocean View Foundation allowed the project to move forward. By the end of the fiscal year, contracts were in place with A. Transue Corp. for the site work and foundation construction and with Pariseault Builders for installation and finishing of the homes. Ultimately, modular houses from Pariseault Builders were selected for affordability.”

Of the five homes, two are two-bedroom houses, and the other three have three bedrooms. The selling price of the homes is about $250,000.

Pappas also noted during the meeting that contractor Turtle Hatfield, who was selected to do the landscaping, “has been up there watering, and hopefully homeowners can help out.”

Commemorating the project

“With this COVID environment, it’s hard to commemorate the end of this project and the beginning for the five family lives,” said Pappas.

The board members exchanged ideas on how to celebrate the project and welcome the new homeowners. A final decision was made to present the new homeowners with a landscape gift: hydrangeas.

“I can look into contacting some of the companies,” said member Rosemary Tobin. Member McGinnes said “I like the idea of a live hydrangea,” and member Kay McManus added “hydrangea is Block Island.”

The board agreed in a unanimous motion to buy the landscape gifts for the new homeowners.

“We all should be very proud… I hope that you all get to see the houses,” said Pappas.